The Government is committed to legislating so that developers of market tenure homes must belong to a New Homes Ombudsman, and has recently consulted on the details of how such an Ombudsman would work.
The proposed ombudsman is a response to the perceived failure of industry-led schemes to protect the interests of homebuyers and would apply to new home purchased directly from developers.
It is not currently intended to cover existing homes, new affordable-tenure homes or those purchased through agents. It is relevant to housing associations developing market homes for cross-subsidy, however.
The Federation responded to the consultation, noting that:
- We agree with the need for a New Homes Ombudsman to provide redress where necessary for new build home buyers across the market.
- Housing associations are already required to be members of the Housing Ombudsman. It is important there is clarity over which customers can access which ombudsman, to avoid duplication.
- Housing associations leasehold homes are already covered by the existing Housing Ombudsman, so new schemes should only cover any new freehold homes sold directly by housing associations.
- The fee structure for the New Homes Ombudsman should reflect the number of homes developed which fall within the scope of the ombudsman, as well as possibly the number of complaints upheld.